Father Joe Leclair granted early release from jail

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CTV Ottawa

Published Tuesday, November 18, 2014 2:36PM EST

Last Updated Tuesday, November 18, 2014 7:05PM EST

The priest convicted of defrauding Ottawa’s Blessed Sacrament Church was granted an early release from jail.

Father Joe Leclair was released from the Central East Region Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario on Sunday, Nov.9, 2014. In an Ontario Parole Board decision last month, Leclair was granted a “Temporary Absence” nine days prior to his “official release from custody” on November 18, 2014.

The decision states Leclair had asked for the early release so that he could attend an assessment to see if he requires further treatment. The Parole Board decision paints Leclair as a model inmate, “your behavior in custody has been good. You have been working on the outside crew for several months and you have done excellent work. There is much support for you from the employees of the institution.”

In a shock to his loyal parishioners, Father Joe Leclair pleaded guilty to theft and fraud charges earlier this year, after stealing $130,000 from the church. Leclair admitted he was feeding a gambling addiction. He was sentenced in March 2014 to one year in jail. In Ontario, inmates can be released on what’s called “earned remission” after serving two-thirds of their sentence.

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